Backdrop is three Nigerians’ social network for travel lovers — Quartz Africa

People visiting a luxury place for the first time tend to take pictures to document the memory, sometimes by posting on social media. Authority on cool or attractive websites can be a ladder to influence, attract advertisers, and endorse the brand.

But where do people find luxury places?

On a birthday hangout a couple of years ago, I searched for restaurants on Google Maps using Explore, but real life is frustrating compared to the photos on the app. I didn’t think to check Instagram because that didn’t feel like it was tailored to my needs.

The goal is for Backdrop to be the travel app to fundamentally explore and change the travel experience.

Last week, three Nigerian entrepreneurs launched Backdrop, an app that they say solves this problem not just for the residents of Lagos, Nigeria but for everyone in the world.

Merge multiple apps into one app

Backdrop looks like Instagram and Pinterest, but its niche focus is on curating aesthetically pleasing places.

Each wallpaper is an image of a location, such as the Chromatic Gate in Los Angeles, California or the Wonder Experience Museum in Amsterdam. The target audience for the app includes frequent travelers, local tourists, and content creators such as photographers and cinematographers. It was launched with around 100 wallpapers from 26 cities across Asia, Africa and Europe.

“The goal is for Backdrop to be the travel app to fundamentally explore and change the travel experience,” Damilola Uduvua, the company’s CEO, tells Quartz.

Backdrop finds images from the Internet with references to sources. In addition, the 18-month-old company has image researchers who travel through cities to take pictures.

But its hope of expanding as a social network will depend on user-generated content. Users new to the app (it’s on iOS only at the moment) can add photos that aren’t already listed, subject to review by more active users. A critical advantage of reviewing is to ensure that each image is tagged with descriptive information about the location, including address, opening times, permission for pets, outdoor seating, and other details that will enable visitors to plan appropriately.

It succeeded where Google and Facebook failed

The background is free. Advertising, like top social media executives, is the clearest path to monetization, but only if it quickly acquires millions of users around the world to spark business curiosity. Today’s major social media apps have at least 100 million monthly active users. TikTok, the world’s most popular app, has just reached a billion, and is challenging Facebook in social commerce.

If it wants to be global, the bar is high for a Nigeria-built Backdrop (although the 14-person team works entirely remotely).

The company’s other founders are Odunayo Eweniyi, co-founder of Nigerian startup Piggyvest, and Timilehin Ajiboye, CEO of a crypto platform called Buycoins. While each of them may have access to a global network of friends and tech industry representatives, Backdrop is their first test of the ability to build a mainstream consumer tech product for the world. They mainly aim for success as some of the efforts of Big Tech – Hobbi on Facebook and Google+ to name a few have failed.

Odufuwa, who leads Binance’s public relations in Africa, is confident of this, arguing that the app has been beta-tested with users from all over the world.

As with other social networks, Backdrop will evolve based on user interests that, in a world driven by advanced smartphone technologies, can create markets for products that do not seem necessary at first glance.

“I can see Backdrop become a service for countries that are known to travel, and help visitors discover how to explore,” says Odufuwa.

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